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Physical Therapy for Chronic Pain

The nervous system is responsible for sending pain messages to the brain, and the brain determines that there is a real threat to the person.  In some conditions, even after the person seems to be healed, pain still does occur.  Chronic pain is pain that lasts for more than three months, and can be quite troublesome and debilitating.

Many conditions can lead to take this type of pain; however, there are specific illnesses that are more susceptible to chronic pain.  These illnesses include: severe trauma and injury, diabetes, fibromyalgia, migraines, phantom limb pain, shingles, and multiple sclerosis.  Of course, there are many diseases that have pain that is ongoing, such as rheumatoid arthritis and the many types of cancers, yet with chronic pain the discomfort is generated in the nervous system even though the point of pain and tissues have recovered and healed.

Physical therapists are trained to help patients deal with chronic pain.  They do so by reviewing the patient’s medical history, listening to the patient, and discussing all symptoms and any diagnosis from the primary physician.  With this information, the physical therapist will be able to develop a plan of treatment through specific and combined therapies.

To begin, the physical therapist will educate the client about chronic pain in the precise reason her patient may be experiencing the pain.  She will involve the client in developing the therapy plan.  The plan of therapy may include: flexibility and strengthening exercises, manual therapy, movement and posture exercises, and other modalities incorporated into therapy.  These may include the application of ice, heat, and electrical stimulation therapy.

It is important to understand that everyone is different, and everyone’s chronic pain is unique to the individual and to the condition. Once the physical therapist and the client begin to consistently work together, the client will begin to see marked improvement in the ability to manage the chronic pain and enjoy a sense of well-being.

“Types of Chronic Pain Syndromes.” – RightDiagnosis.com. Health Grades, Inc., 13 Aug. 2015. Web. 22 May 2016.


Physical Therapy after Rotator Cuff Surgery

In order to regain proper use of the shoulder after a full tear of the rotator cuff, surgery is the only option. After surgery, physical therapy is the ideal way to heal properly in order to regain full use of the shoulder. However, Physical therapy is not performed until the patient receives permission from the physician stating that the sling (worn to protect the shoulder and arm after surgery) may be removed.

In order for the shoulder to have full functionality and mobility after surgery, the patient needs to attend physical therapy sessions on a regular basis. In the beginning, the activities chosen by the physical therapist are very simple. As physical therapy continues, and the patient regains mobility in the shoulder area, the exercises become more rigorous. Each patient is different, and because of this the physical therapist will evaluate the patient in the beginning to ensure proper exercises given.

The first few weeks after the surgery is when the shoulder is very tender and can be reinjured very easily. The sling is worn to protect the shoulder area and must be worn at all times with the exception of bathing and dressing. Once the sling can be taken off, physical therapy will begin, very gradually, to help the shoulder move properly once again. There are many different range-of-motion exercises that the physical therapist will do with you; manual therapy may also be formed at this time to alleviate any pain. In addition to this, icing and stimulation by electrical current can also relieve the pain.

As the therapy sessions increase over time, the strengthening exercises may become a challenge for the patient. The physical therapist will help the patient perform the exercises and begin to work through the pain without over doing it. In addition to the physical therapy sessions, the patient will begin to use his arm more often throughout the day; however, there will be limits placed on what the patient can and cannot do with the arm (such as heavy lifting).

Strengthening the main muscles of the trunk area, the shoulder blade, and of course the rotator cuff muscles are the goals of the physical therapist. Performing exercises to strengthen these muscles will help the patient over time develop a normal range of motion and mobility in the shoulder area. With these activities, the patient will slowly be able to perform normal everyday tasks with the shoulder and arm, but it will take time. It is a gradual process and the client must be patient with the process so another injury to the rotator cuff does not occur. Full mobility will eventually come again, and the patient will be able to live a life without shoulder pain.

 


Physical Therapy and Managing Diabetes

Everybody needs insulin in order to use blood sugar, or glucose, for energy by carrying the sugar from the blood to the cells. When this isn’t done properly, the blood sugar increases in the blood and causes complications, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and side-effects of feeling very ill.

Individuals that have diabetes can manage their diabetes and other vascular conditions by having a physical therapist guide them through a proper exercise plan. Physical therapists are trained to develop an exercise program catered to the individual. Controlling blood sugar can help the effects of this disease, and an exercise plan will help manage the blood sugar levels.

Strengthening and aerobic exercises help manage blood sugar levels by helping the cells use the glucose in the blood for energy. When the muscles contract during exercise, another mechanism is stimulated that is not related to insulin.  This unrelated mechanism aids the cells in absorbing the glucose rather than having it dangerously build up in the blood. Glucose is taken up during exercise and after. Aerobic exercise and resistance training are ideal for managing diabetes, and a physical therapist can help you be the healthiest you can be with this illness.

The physical therapist may also work alongside the physician to keep the diabetes monitored for a healthy and positive well-being. Activities provided can include aerobic exercise of moderate intensity, depending on the patient’s abilities. Walking briskly, swimming or water exercises, and dancing are activities the therapist may feel is a good match for the patient.  For some clients, a more vigorous work out will be necessary, such as jogging, hiking, martial arts, aerobic exercises, and dancing. With Type Two diabetes, resistance training may be offered if the patient is able to use weights or bands. Whatever the therapy prescribed, it will need to be given no less than three days a week on a consistent basis to keep the diabetic patient feeling great and being the healthiest he can be.

 

 

“Diabetes.” American Physical Therapy Association. American Physical Therapy Association, 2011. Web. 25 May 2016. <http://www.moveforwardpt.com/symptomsconditionsdetail.aspx?cid=892c2628-6e96-41fa-93e1-4c973c247010>.

 


Avoiding Surgery with the Help of Physical Therapy

Injuries or chronic conditions can make everyday tasks very difficult. Often, individuals with debilitating injuries or chronic conditions opt to have surgery so they may live a productive life. However, surgery does not need to be the only option to regain movement and strength. Physical therapy is an ideal way for many to avoid the complications, risks, time of recovery, and cost of surgery.

With proper treatment methods that come from physical therapy, the body can heal itself over time. Physical therapists not only facilitate proper exercises and habits in terms of movement of an affected area, they also recommend proper nutrition that can boost healing as well.

Techniques that physical therapists use to promote the healing of a condition, illness, or specific injury include manual therapy, exercises, and stretching. When these methods are given to the patient repetitively during therapy and consistently over time, the patient may see a decrease in painful symptoms. The sessions with a physical therapist are also much more cost-effective than surgery.

When a patient makes an appointment with the physical therapist, the professional will discuss the specific symptoms and develop a course of treatment. The physical therapist will educate the patient about the condition and precisely why the patient is experiencing those particular symptoms. The medical professional will explain to the patient all of the options available in terms of treatment. This way, the patient will have a complete understanding of the methods the physical therapist will use. Once the therapy sessions begin and continue, the patient may begin to make progress by feeling better and will realize that surgery is definitely preventable.

 


Acupuncture for Seasonal Allergies

If you are an allergy sufferer, how many times do you find yourself dreading your least favorite season? Would it be your least favorite season if you didn’t have the annoyances and suffering from allergies? Many people find it hard to enjoy life outdoors when allergy season hits; this makes being happy throughout the year difficult. As the seasons change, different allergens are released into the air that makes it very hard for allergy sufferers’ well-being. Many individuals think of spring when they hear the word “allergy”; however, the other seasons of the year contribute to allergies. In addition to pollen in the spring, the winter months can bring mold and pet dander as people stay in with heaters on. Fall brings ragweed, mildew, and mold, and summer can bring dust mites.

Symptoms

Symptoms of seasonal allergies come and go, depending on the sufferer. Wheezing, coughing, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, runny nose, congestion, and even stomach aches are some of the symptoms. Individuals that have seasonal allergies may have a few of these discomforts or even all of them. With allergies, many individuals take medication on a daily basis, use nasal sprays, get allergy shots, use essential oils, or just stay inside all too often. These allergy sufferers are experts at HEPA filters and pollen counts and know their bodies well enough to wear a mask when mowing the lawn.

The Benefits of Acupuncture

No one likes the side effects associated with the prescription allergy medications on the market today. Getting shots once a month to treat the allergies is not something people look forward to either. With acupuncture, the treatment will be based on the core of the problem. The underlying cause of the allergies will be found and the treatment will focus on that.

Acupuncture is used to effectively treat allergies by restoring the balance to the body, using the pressure points to improve the immune system and its function, increasing the circulation of the blood, and reducing stress. Depending on the allergies and the symptoms associated with your allergies, the acupuncturist will be able to create the best treatment plan for you to ease your discomfort from seasonal allergies.


Physical Therapy and Back Pain

Individuals suffering from back pain that has lasted for more than two weeks can benefit from physical therapy, especially after an injury that isn’t making progress in healing. Back pain can limit people from doing the normal everyday tasks, both at work and at home. The muscles, tissue, and bones of the back can be susceptible to a multitude of injuries, such as sports injuries, accidents and falls, general work that requires bending and lifting, or from chronic conditions. The lower back is the most common place for back injuries and many people are diagnosed with sprains, strains, disk conditions, nerve pain, and vertebrae that become fractured.

Back pain can be debilitating, as it causes pain, thus interfering with normal, everyday activities. There are several types of treatment for this condition, including icing, massage, chiropractic care, acupuncture, bed rest, surgery, and physical therapy. Physical therapy is ideal for treating back pain, and can be used in conjunction with these types of treatment; physical therapy may help patients avoid surgery as well.

Physical therapists are trained to help patients understand the reason for their back pain, while assisting in decreasing the pain and increasing the mobility of this area of the body. These professionals conduct passive therapy on the patient, including the application of electrical nerve stimulation, ice, iontophoresis, and ultrasound with heat. Active therapy such as stretching and exercising is also incorporated into the physical therapy procedures. Clients may see a physical therapist several times per week or fewer, depending on the condition and severity. Therapists may also teach their patients how they can perform these activities at home.

 


Quitting Smoking: How Acupuncture Can Help

Smoking is a habit that is very bad for your health. This has been proven in countless studies; it can lead to heart disease, lung cancer, premature aging, dental problems, lung diseases, low birth rates if done during pregnancy, high blood pressure, and so many more illnesses and diseases. Many people know this, but they continue to smoke. This is because smoking is highly addictive, and quitting has a large amount of uncomfortable side effects. Even though the side effects of quitting are only temporary, some of them are so intense that people give up and begin smoking again.

There are a wide variety of methods used that people lean on to try to stop once and for all. Acupuncture works without using any type of nicotine replacement, as many people have found that actual nicotine replacement still is very addictive.

How Acupuncture Works

If you are a smoker who wants to quit for good, an acupuncturist can help. The acupuncturist will look at all of your symptoms, such as withdrawal symptoms and take into account how long you have smoked and how much. Each person is unique in their quitting journey, so the acupuncture sessions are individualized.
The treatments will more than likely focus on the cravings, restlessness, irritability, dizziness, and shakiness that come with stopping nicotine. Acupuncture will also help with detoxifying the body and relaxing the body. To accomplish all of this, the acupuncturist will place the hair-like needles in various points on the body, determined by the symptoms you are having. You may also receive ear seeds to keep the power of acupuncture helping you for up to a week. The pathways that are associated with smoking cessation and the energy points are used to your advantage, and with this type of treatment, you can remain smoke free for life without the cravings and urges.

In addition to acupuncture, you may also be given Chinese herbs to take to combat the symptoms of withdrawal. Many people have quit thanks to acupuncture, and you can as well.


The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Seniors

As people become older, it becomes more difficult for them to perform daily tasks, move around without losing their balance, and lift objects. If a senior has suffered an injury, such as a broken bone, life can be difficult and disheartening.

Physical therapy is an ideal way to help seniors increase their mobility, gain more strength, restore balance, improve daily functions, and reduce pain. All of these benefits of physical therapy can give seniors more independence and confidence in everyday living. Even those who have suffered an injury can learn to manage their pain through various forms of physical therapy.

Seniors often develop conditions due to age, such as arthritis and osteoporosis, and need extra assistance with managing complications that can arise from these conditions. With arthritis, the aching joints can make daily tasks painful and frustrating. A physical therapist can help a patient with arthritis with manual therapy and teaching the patient how to preserve the joints. She can also show the patient specific exercises to improve the functionality of the stiff joints. With osteoporosis, the weakened bones can cause loss of balance and lead to falls. With a physical therapist, a person suffering from this disease can increase their ability to function without falling.

Many seniors want to keep their independence and way of life, and with the assistance from a physical therapist, this “want” can be a reality.

“The Importance of Physical Therapy for Seniors | ASC Blog.” ASC. American Senior Communities, 2014. Web. 23 May 2016. <http://www.ascseniorcare.com/physical-therapy-for-seniors/>.


Knee Pain and Physical Therapy

While osteoarthritis is commonly known as the disease that causes severe knee pain, pain in the knee can be the result of an injury as well. Many people suffer from knee pain caused by making a sudden movement, suffering trauma to the knee, and osteoarthritis. When knee pain is the result of an injury, the most common diagnoses are tears of the cartilage, tears of the ligaments, or strains to these crucial parts of the knee.

When a person suffers knee pain, the movements are restricted, the strength of the muscles within the knee area is weakened, and control of the muscles is decreased. Having the pain can severely limit a person’s daily functions. If a person has osteoarthritis, the knee cartilage slowly wears away, swelling occurs, and the pain can be quite intense.

Physical therapy can help reverse knee damage if performed consistently and on a regular basis. If a person requires physical therapy for conditions of the knee, a physical therapist will review the physician’s diagnosis and put together options for treatment. The physical therapist will meet with the patient and ask a multitude of questions concerning how the knee was hurt, what hurts the most in terms of mobility, and other questions about the injury or symptoms related to osteoarthritis. As every knee injury is different, the therapy is tailored to each person’s specific condition. The therapist will also have the patient perform different tasks using the knee to get a clearer idea of when it hurts the most.

Methods of treatment can include strength training, endurance and function training, stimulation via electrical currant, and other exercises which the physical therapist deems necessary. These methods help increase strength to the muscles, reduce the pain, reduce stress on the knee joint, and stimulate healing. For patients suffering from osteoarthritis, physical therapist will focus on building up specific muscles, performing manual therapy on the knee, and special exercises to help increase the range of motion.

In addition to the therapy, the physical therapist may recommend exercises at home and will also communicate to the patient what activities need to be limited, at least for the short term. The patient, with consistent, repetitive therapy, will begin to experience marked improvement in the knee area.

 

“Knee Pain.” American Physical Therapy Association. Move Forward, 2011. Web. 29 May 2016. <http://www.moveforwardpt.com/symptomsconditionsdetail.aspx?cid=b92021cb-a1ec-4f20-8b7e-37d62bc1a52e>.


TMJ: How Acupuncture Can Help

Connecting the lower jaw to the temporal bone on the side of the face, the temporomandibular joint is also called the mandible. The joints are very flexible, and the muscles attached allow you to move your jaw in many directions. Temporomandibular joint disorder is a very painful disorder of the jaw joint and the overall movement of the jaw.

Symptoms of TMJ

This jaw joint and muscle disorder has a variety of symptoms. Some are quite different than others in terms of pain and aggravation. The common symptoms of TMJ are pain in the jaw joint, pain in the muscles when you chew, stiffness of the jaw muscle, and locking or limited movement of the jaw. Sufferers of TMJ also have pain that radiates in the face, jaw, or down the neck, popping, grating, or clicking when the mouth opens and closes, and a change in the alignment of the teeth.

Acupuncture and TMJ

If you suffer from TMJ, you may have tried traditional treatments. Traditional medicine and treatments often mask the root of the problem of the TMJ and may not always be effective. If these treatments have not been helpful for you, acupuncture may be an option. Acupuncture is a great way to treat TMJ because there are no side effects from medications and it has been shown to work.

Acupuncture focuses on the mind and body and helps reset and regulate the neuromuscular jaw tension. Using the pressure points determined by the acupuncturist, the treatment will relax the muscles and rid your body of excess levels of stress that may be contributing to the TMJ. Acupuncture also stimulates the nerve and increases the nerve signals from cell to cell. This also causes the positive release of endorphins and neurotransmitters to help alleviate the pain in the jaw.
If you have TMJ and want another treatment option, or would like to combine treatments, acupuncture may be an option for you. Used alone or with other treatments, you should see the results and relief of the TMJ once the acupuncturist begins your individualized treatment plan.

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